The last two weeks have been hard. It’s that time of the semester where everyone is in need of a good nap, students and Professors alike. When due dates for big projects are approaching, too quickly for the comfort of many, and it seems like there’s no time to slow down. There’s always more homework to do, another assignment to work on, another event you promised to help with or go to. Keep pushing, keep working: sleep a little, drink too much coffee… Take a break to go to an event that brings joy, but also drains you of what little energy you had left. And when people ask how you’re doing you feel required to say you’re fine even if you’re not, because surely no one has the time to listen to your struggles and doubts, you least of all.
It’s that time in the semester when I think most students are questioning their decisions, their life, their place in this crazy place we call college. There’s so much work and so little time… Are we really meant to be here? Are we sure we’re making the right decisions? If this is where I’m supposed to be, why do I feel like I’m losing the battle? Why do I feel like I’m going to fail at everything I’m trying to do? There’s too much to do and there’s only so much I can give…
I’ll admit, I’ve been asking these questions a lot in the past few weeks. When the homework is looming, when the commitments keep stacking up, when I sit down in the evening to accomplish something on my ever-growing to-do list but I’m so tired and my brain is so dead that I end up just going to bed…when the exhaustion hits it is so easy for me to start to despair. Why am I struggling so much? Why won’t the words come? Why do I feel like I’m drowning, like every assignment I turn in is only half finished?
…If I’m where I’m supposed to be, why has it been three weeks since I’ve written a single word outside of schoolwork? Why am I faced with so many assignments and classes I don’t feel equipped to face? Why am I in a place and time where I can’t tell the stories I feel called to tell? Henry’s story is there…it’s waiting at the tips of my fingers, but I can’t. Find. Time. To. Write. So why am I here? I know learning and growing isn’t easy, but am I supposed to feel like I’m barely surviving?
And I’ll admit that there was a point in this past week when I wanted to give up. I wanted to pack my things and move back home. I wanted to be with my Mom and Dad and my brother and give up on this college thing. I can write without it, and if I wasn’t faced with so much pressure and work I could devote my time to writing these stories that invade my mind. I felt inadequate to keep going. Maybe I’m smart enough, but I’m certainly not strong enough. I’m not cut out for the challenges. On that day, all I wanted to do was go home.
But I didn’t. I’m still here in Colorado. I’m still working hard at my classes, studying for tests and writing this complicated and difficult but oh-so-valuable thing called an exegetical. And I’m still struggling. I still wonder how I’m going to get it all done, and what grades I’m going to get when I do. I still feel inadequate to the challenges at hand, and I’m still wondering how in the world I’m going to get through two and a half more years of this. These struggles of mine don’t have a snap-your-fingers, quick-inspirational-quote fix. And I still don’t understand all of the why’s. I’m not going to minimize the reality of this: college is hard. If I had to go it alone I’d be failing right now.
But I’m not going it alone. I’m not here because I absolutely need a college degree, or because I’m somehow less valuable without it. I’m here only because God wants me to be. Because, for some reason, He wants me here. I’m not sure I fully understand why, but I know that it’s true. I know because without His help I wouldn’t be here in the first place. I know because, even with the challenges, I am learning so much that is more valuable than I could’ve imagined. I know because on the hardest days, when I don’t understand and I’m losing the will to keep going, these strange unexpected encouragements pop up. I know because just when I’m about to lose all hope and break down into a useless puddle on the floor, I receive just enough strength to keep going. Just enough strength to get through that minute, and that hour, and that day. Enough strength to make it through those assignments and those commitments, and somehow when I get the grade back I learn that my work wasn’t as horrible as I thought.
And even though I haven’t written in three weeks and some days it kills me that I can’t sit down with my laptop and write something that doesn’t have to be 12-point, Times New Roman, 1 inch margins…my writing isn’t at a complete standstill. The stories in my head are growing. They’re developing before my eyes. And when I can finally sit down and write them, they will be fuller and richer for the time spent waiting.
So I thank God that I’m here. I thank God that His mercies are new every morning and that I don’t have to rely on my own strength. I thank Him over and over again that He has a plan that I fit into, that every moment of pain and uncertainty comes with a lesson and a peace that overshadows everything else. And again I am reminded that everything I am is because of Him. Every story I write, every idea I have, is His. His stories, His timing.
And I thank Him for all of you…the people who read these exceedingly long posts and keep coming back. The people who read my books and see the story beyond the flaws in technique and style. I appreciate your support and your patience. Rest assured that, with God’s grace, I will keep pressing on. I won’t give up, and I won’t stop searching for time to share these stories I’ve been given.
As a thank you for your support, here’s a link to a short story I wrote a few weeks ago: Lost and Found Thank you all for sticking with me, and I hope you enjoy this snapshot of a story! I certainly enjoyed writing it.
If your goal in the short story was to leave us wanting more, you succeeded!
That wasn’t my intended purpose, but I do hope to eventually write more stories in that world… 😉
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